The Lincoln Dog Bite Lawyers at the Noll Law Office Explain Dog Bite Law in Illinois
Were you or someone close to you bitten by a dog in Illinois? If so, the dog’s owner could owe you compensation for the harm you’ve suffered and losses you’ve incurred. It’s crucial to know that these incidents happen to people just like you and you’re not alone in wanting answers and justice. Contact the experienced Lincoln dog bite lawyers at Noll Law Office today.
Illinois ranks second out of all 50 states for the number of reported cases of dogs biting people. As dog ownership continues to increase across the state, the number of attacks is expected to rise. Furthermore, according to the Insurance Information Institute, insurers nationwide paid nearly $900 million in dog bite claims in one recent year. As a result, insurance companies and their representatives may be motivated to deny, delay, or underpay dog bite claims to reduce these costs.
Seeking compensation for dog bite-related injuries in Illinois can be overwhelming, which is why having a knowledgeable lawyer to represent you is more important now than ever. The team of experienced attorneys at the Noll Law Office understands the emotional, physical, and financial toll a dog bite can have on your life. The Noll Law Office is committed to helping you through this difficult time.
The Lincoln dog bite lawyers at the Noll Law Office take dog bite cases seriously. Their compassionate and knowledgeable lawyers know how to properly evaluate your case and help you seek the compensation and support you and your family deserve. To get started on your case, call them at (217) 414-8889 or contact the firm online for a 100% free case evaluation.
I’ve Been Bitten by a Dog in Illinois. Who Pays for My Dog Bite Injuries?
Unlike some states, Illinois does not have a “one-bite rule.” This means a dog’s owner can be held responsible for injuries others suffer if their dog attacks or injures someone without provocation, as long as the person was lawfully in the area. Liability isn’t limited to the dog’s actual owner. It can also apply to the person who was in control of the dog at the time of the attack.
To receive compensation for damages, you’ll need to prove that the dog attacked or injured you, you had the right to be in the area, and you didn’t provoke the dog. If someone else’s dog bit you, remember that there’s a time limit for filing a personal injury lawsuit in Illinois. According to 735 ILCS § 5/13-202, generally speaking, you have two years from the date of the dog bite incident to file suit.
Homeowner’s insurance plays a significant role in dog bite incidents as well. Typically, dog bite coverage is included in the liability portion of a homeowner’s insurance policy, which helps protect against lawsuits and provides compensation for various household incidents. Dog bites might also be covered under the medical payments section of the policy, but this coverage usually has a lower maximum limit (around $5,000). Additionally, a homeowner’s policy may cover dog-related incidents that occur away from home such as at a dog park.
How Do You Prove Liability Against a Dog Owner in Illinois?
To prove liability against a dog owner in Illinois, you can either rely on statutory liability under the Illinois Animal Control Act or pursue a common law negligence claim. Both methods have their own requirements and procedures that must be followed to ensure a successful outcome.
Proving Dog Owner Liability Under the Illinois Animal Control Act
The Illinois Animal Control Act, or 510 ILCS 5/16, is a statutory method for holding dog owners responsible for the injuries and losses caused by their pets. To succeed in a claim under this Act, the injured party must prove four elements against the dog owner:
- Proving ownership of the dog – Establishing that the defendant is the owner or the person responsible for controlling the dog is a critical first step. In some cases, this may involve researching property records, interviewing neighbors, or collecting statements from witnesses who can confirm the dog’s ownership.
- Establishing peaceable conduct – The injured party must show that they acted peaceably during the attack. This means that they were not engaged in any aggressive, threatening, or provocative actions toward the dog or its owner. Evidence of peaceable conduct may include witness statements or video footage showing your behavior before the incident.
- Demonstrating a lawful right to be in the location of the incident – The victim must prove that they had a lawful right to be where the attack occurred. This may involve demonstrating that you were on public property, had permission to be on private property, or were otherwise legally allowed to be in the area.
- Demonstrating that the incident resulted in injury – In order for a victim to prevail in a dog bite case, they must show that they suffered injuries because of the dog bite.
In some cases, the defendant may argue that the victim was in a restricted area or that a warning was given before the attack. It is essential to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced dog bite lawyer to protect your rights and injury claim.
Issues Related to Dog Bites
Dog bites can have significant physical, emotional, and financial repercussions for victims. When faced with such a life-altering event, it’s essential to understand the various areas of concern and how they can impact your life.
Injuries from dog bites can range from mild to severe, with some victims requiring amputations or surgical repair due to blood loss. Damage to nerves, muscles, and ligaments may affect a victim’s ability to work and participate in daily activities. Victims may experience blood loss, shock, and other life-threatening complications in severe cases.
Infections are another major concern following a dog bite. Bacteria in dogs’ mouths can lead to infections, making preventative antibiotics crucial after an attack. If left unchecked, infections can result in serious consequences, such as amputation, death, or even more severe injuries than the initial bite.
Scarring is a common issue for dog bite victims. Extensive scarring may occur, often requiring a waiting period to determine the full extent of the damage. Hypertrophic and keloid scarring can develop, potentially necessitating cosmetic surgery. Unfortunately, the cost of surgical release of scars can be a financial burden for victims, as private health insurance coverage may not cover all expenses related to cosmetic procedures.
The psychological impact of a dog bite should not be underestimated. Victims may suffer emotional trauma, leading to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or phobias. This can significantly affect their quality of life and daily activities. Seeking mental health support or therapy is essential for recovery.
The financial impact of a dog bite can be significant, with costs related to medical treatment, surgeries, medications, and rehabilitation. Victims may lose income due to missed work, reduced working capacity, and expenses related to mental health support or therapy. The long-term financial burden can be overwhelming for victims and their families.
Rehabilitation and recovery from a dog bite can be a lengthy and challenging process. Victims may require physical therapy, occupational therapy, and support from family and friends as they heal and regain function. Adapting to new limitations or disabilities is another challenge some people might face when recovering from particularly severe or catastrophic injuries.
Common Injuries from Dog Bites
Dog bites can lead to various injuries, including:
- Puncture wounds – Puncture wounds are often caused by a dog’s teeth and can range in severity depending on the depth and location of the bite.
- Lacerations or tears in the skin – Lacerations can occur when a dog’s teeth tear through the skin, leaving open wounds that may require stitches or other medical intervention.
- Lacerations of the venous structures – Severe bites can damage blood vessels, leading to significant blood loss and potentially life-threatening complications.
- Laceration of the nerves – Nerve damage can result in long-term pain, numbness, or loss of function in the affected area.
- Broken bones – Large or powerful dogs may be able to bite with enough force to break bones, necessitating further medical treatment and possibly surgery.
- Crushing injuries – A dog’s powerful jaws can cause crushing injuries to the underlying tissues, leading to bruising, swelling, and possible internal damage.
- Punctured lungs – In rare cases, a dog bite can puncture a lung, causing difficulty breathing and potentially life-threatening complications. This wound is more likely in children.
- Blood loss – Deep or extensive dog bite wounds can cause significant blood loss, which may require emergency medical attention.
- Muscle tears – Bites can also cause muscle tears, leading to pain, swelling, and a possible loss of function in the affected area.
- Ligament tears – A dog bite can damage ligaments, causing instability and pain in the affected joint.
In addition to these physical injuries, dog bite victims often experience mental anguish and emotional trauma. The psychological impact of a dog bite can be long-lasting and may require therapy or counseling to help the victim cope with the event.
What to Do After a Dog Bite in Illinois
By following these steps, you can make sure you receive proper medical care, document the incident effectively, and involve the appropriate authorities to handle the situation.
Get Medical Treatment
Your health should always be your top priority. If you’ve suffered a dog bite, ensure you:
- Call 911 for severe injuries – If the injuries sustained are severe, don’t hesitate to call 911 and take an ambulance to the emergency room. This will ensure you receive prompt and professional medical care.
- Seek medical attention for minor bites – Even if the bite seems minor, seeking medical attention is crucial to prevent infections and complications. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your health.
Document the Incident
Once your immediate medical needs are addressed, it’s essential to document the incident. This will help you build a strong case for any legal actions you may need to take. To document the incident:
- Take photos – Capture images of the area, the dog, and any relevant evidence, such as torn clothing or damaged property.
- Gather witness information – Record the names and contact information of any witnesses to the incident and the dog’s owner if possible.
Report The Attack
In Illinois, dog bites should be reported to the proper authorities:
- Doctors and police reporting – Medical professionals and law enforcement officers typically report dog bites to animal control officers. However, it’s essential to confirm this has been done.
- Self-reporting – If the bite hasn’t been reported, contact the local county animal control agency or police department to document the incident and initiate an investigation. In Lincoln, Illinois, you can reach the Logan County Animal Control at (217) 732-3911 or the Lincoln Police Department at (217) 732-2151.
Once the incident has been reported, it’s essential to let professionals handle the investigation:
- County animal control agencies – These agencies may help determine whether the dog was provoked and identify the owner. They can also take necessary steps to ensure public safety and prevent future incidents.
- Police officers – Law enforcement officers can provide similar investigations while you focus on your physical needs and recovery.
Do I Have a Valid Dog Bite Claim?
To determine if you have a valid dog bite claim, consider the following:
- Liability – Establishing the dog owner’s liability through the Illinois Animal Control Act or a negligence claim is crucial to a successful dog bite case.
- Evidence – Securing strong evidence to support your claim, such as witness statements, photos, and medical records, could strengthen your case and improve your chances of a successful settlement or verdict.
- Severity of injuries – More severe injuries are more likely to result in a successful claim, as the damages and impact on your life will be more significant.
How Will the Noll Law Office Help with My Dog Bite?
When you contact the Lincoln dog bite lawyers at the Noll Law Office after a vicious animal attack, you can count on receiving the following:
- Free case evaluation – The Lincoln dog bite lawyers at the Noll Law Office will provide you with a free case evaluation to discuss your legal rights and potential steps to obtain coverage for your medical bills and financial compensation for pain and suffering.
- Local and experienced representation – Daniel and Sarah Noll are experienced dog bite lawyers who are committed to ensuring their clients receive the best possible representation.
- Personalized attention – When you work with the Noll Law Office, your case won’t be handed off to a junior associate. Instead, you’ll have experienced, caring attorneys by your side from the initial consultation until the case is concluded.
If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog in Lincoln, Illinois, the Noll Law Office is here to help. With their extensive experience in personal injury law and dedication to serving their community, you can trust the attorneys to fight for your rights and the compensation you deserve.
Contact the Noll Law Office today at (217) 414-8889 for a free case evaluation and take the first step towards healing and recovery.